NEVER GOING HOME?

A heavily armored truck in Afghanistan has stenciled on its windshield, “hallelujah, lock and load” and next to it is stenciled, “Never going home.” Such is the life of American fighting men and women in Afghanistan, trying their best to find the ever elusive Taliban who know enough to avoid fighting with Americans. They slink away into darkness, they make certain it is not American soldiers they are engaged in a fire fight with, and they prefer planting bombs on roads when no one is around. Actually, it is an effective strategy for guerrilla forces, don’t engage in direct action and wear the energy down of your opponents. Eventually, they will get tired and go home. The New York based 10th Mountain Division is stationed near Kabul, but has difficulty even getting into any fights with Taliban forces. “It’s more like playing dodge ball,” says Captain McCuney.

The main activity of platoons is checking out villages. As they enter children run to them, sent by parents to check out strangers, and then fathers follow to engage in conversations. Few villagers hide the fact the Taliban is nearby. Most villagers tell the Americans the Taliban goes on patrols just like their opponents.

All too frequently, American soldiers encounter villagers who most probably prefer the Taliban and their strict Sharia law. Oh well, it is 2025, and the daily check of villagers goes on and on.

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